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Garden Museum by the Thames

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Published January 14th 2011
Studies have shown that exposure to green spaces is beneficial to one's mental health, reducing stress levels and helping to engender a sense of well-being.

Fortunately, London has many parks and gardens to escape to, should the daily grind begin to get too much.

One such green space can be found next door to Lambeth Palace on the south bank of the Thames. While the area it occupies may not be huge, the gardens and museum are still nevertheless impressive.

Its location right in the middle of the city provides a welcome break from the surrounding crowds and general mayhem.

The Garden Museum, which re-opened in 2008 following major renovation work, is a celebration of the British garden, a grateful doff of the hat to all the hard work that such gardens entail.

The grounds contain two gardens : the Wild Garden was created in 2007 and contains annual as well as perennial plants, together with grasses and bulbs.

The Knot Garden is based on those that were popular in the 17th century, geometric in design and comprising a mix of period shrub roses, herbaceous perennials, annuals, and bulbs.

A group of green-fingered volunteers make these exquisite gardens what they are, and its varied collection is bound to delight keen horticulturists as well as those with a passing interest in gardening.

The museum, which is housed inside an old church, was founded in 1977 and today has more than 9,000 artefacts, all of which are connected in some way to the British garden and gardening.

A range of tools are on display, including ingenious efforts cobbled together by individuals toiling about in their garden shed, and also larger implements used on swish country estates.

Tools from the Victorian and Edwardian eras can also be viewed, enabling you to see how gardening methods have developed over the years.

Special exhibitions take place throughout the year. Click here to see what's coming up. A number of events are also organised which may be of interest.

The Garden Cafe is the perfect place to grab some lunch during your visit, serving up vegetarian dishes as well as a selection of freshly baked cakes.

There's also a well-stocked gift shop where you can pick up a memento of your visit.
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Why? Because green spaces like this are medicine for the soul.
When: Sunday to Friday 10.30am to 5pm; Saturdays 10.30am to 4pm; Closed on the first Monday of every month (except Bank Holidays).
Where: Lambeth Palace Road, close to Lambeth Bridge.
Cost: Adults - 6; Senior Citizens - 5; Free for Museum Friends, children under 16, full-time students and carers of disabled people.
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